Kids' bike races are competitive events specially designed for children of varying ages during which the kids will race bicycles over a set distance, usually on a race course. The level of competition will vary according to the skill level and age of the riders: very young children may only race for a few minutes at a time, and awards may be given to each rider; older kids may race more competitively, vying for top prizes and recognition. In this latter case, kids' bike races will often be structured very similarly to adult races, but with a shorter course or fewer laps on that course.
Two types of kids' bike races exist in general, and they mirror the same two general categories of adult races. Road cycling races and mountain biking races are the most common two types of races available for kids and adults alike. The structure of these races can vary significantly within these categories. A road race, for example, may take the form of a criterium, which is done at high speed on a very short course, or a stage race, which takes place over several days on a much longer course. Kids' bike races are usually abbreviated versions of the adult races, and in the case of extremely small children, the course may be entirely separate from the adult course and may only take up a parking lot or a part of a parking lot.
In many cases, kids' bike races are held in concordance with adult bike races, either before or after the adult race has taken place. This prevents kids and adults from being on the course at the same time, which can lead to a risk of injury or altercation. High school students will often race the course after the adults, and the distance of the high school race will be shorter than that of the adult race, but the difficulty level will remain similar. Younger children will race a shortened course or an altered course to ensure the safety of the kids during the race.
Like adult races, kids' bike races may be done as a series, with the kids racing several days throughout a given time period. It is common for races to be held monthly or bi-monthly during the warmer months of the year, and a racer can accumulate points toward the overall standings by doing well in all of the races. A winner of the race series may be chosen at the end of the racing season.